Day 2 of the major league baseball Winter Meetings: Brian Sabean has struck his first deal.
The Mercury-News' Andy Baggarly's Tuesday morning update illuminated just how limited Sabean's options are, based on budgetary realities, in terms of new acquisitions:
Baggarly observed, "No wonder GM Brian Sabean is saying he lacks the bullets to go after even moderate free agents. The team already has roughly $81 million committed to eight players (including the released Aaron Rowand). That leaves $50 million under a $130 million budget...If the Giants were to tender offers to all 13 (eligible) arbitration players, it would cost them roughly $45 million. Maybe $7-8 million less if you subtract Keppinger, Torres and Ramirez."
That suggests Sabean entered the winter meetings with perhaps $12-13 million to spread around on five or so roster spots, plus sweeteners for contract extensions. (There's some relief in 2013, when Rowand's contract goes off the books.)
That's not a lot of available cash. Pagan is expected to garner a 2012 arbitration award of close to $5 million; subtracting what Torres and Ramirez would have been paid, Sabean may net $2-3 million to apply elsewhere.
What does this imply? Here are four possibilities.